Unlike Allen Iverson, you have to practice :)
Everyone has different communication styles, so it’s important to practice being direct and straightforward. Sometimes, when we’re dealing with people who have a similar personality to our own, maintaining healthy boundaries doesn’t require clear-cut language. For these situations, subtlety can work fine, because your communication styles are alike. Other times, you might be dealing with someone with a different personality or cultural background, which requires being very direct. If one party considers it acceptable to challenge the other’s opinion, but you’re feeling disrespected and tense, it’s your job to speak out and say, “I think we’re finished with this conversation.” When we first start practicing setting boundaries, it can feel challenging. We might feel guilty, afraid, or self-conscious, but it’s important to remember that setting limits will help make relationships healthier in the long-run. The more you practice saying no, using the scripts you’ve written, the easier it will become. What’s more, you’ll find that your honesty can be refreshing to some. Those who are true friends will appreciate your honesty and respond with honesty. If you’re always hiding how you feel about doing something for someone, you’re certainly not a “cheerful giver,” as the Bible asks us to be. You’re also likely neglecting other areas of your life if you’re stretched to your limits -- your personal time, your family time, your career, etc. Think of a time when you felt cornered, stressed, or taken advantage of. Did you speak up? If not, what stopped you? If you did, did you first hesitate? Questions? Ask away! I’m here for you!